Winter Haibun
#1
In winter when the temperature drops low enough, the canal begins to form its first delicate veil of wafer thin ice. Pockets of air cling to the underside and bid farewell to the light that slowly fades as ice grows thicker and swirling feathered patterns deliciously arc and sweep across the whole of its surface. Sometimes it can happen over night and as a bonus the ice is topped off with a fine layer of frost that scintillates brightly in the low early morning sun; a complete transformation seemingly at odds with the rest of nature in a deep slumber.

atop
frozen canal -
crutches

Then the inevitable begins to happen. At first the occasional stone, some small pebbles, the results of inquisitive minds testing how thick the ice is. Small pebbles become large pebbles become small rocks become large rocks. Until, the floodgates open and to every passer by the temptation to throw something onto the frozen canal becomes irresistible. Twigs snapped from branches, branches snapped from trees, trees uprooted, strewn across the icy surface. Green plastic bottles, multi coloured plastic bags, fluorescent shoes, shopping trolleys, school uniforms, toasters, lingerie, a fondue set, his and hers matching dressing gowns, a cuddly toy. Every conceivable piece of bizarre junk that you can possibly imagine congregates on the frozen wastes until the hideous transformation is complete and the gift of a beautiful frozen canal becomes an eyesore.

on the canal
skating -
funeral mourners

Silently everyone suffers, trying to convince themselves that they were not the worst offenders. Silently everyone prays for the thaw to come and sink the mayhem to the bottom where it can mingle with all the previous decades worth of junk and swap stories of what it was like, "Up there!! Up there in that beautiful golden light."

daffodils don't see
the carnage when snow drops
and crocuses bloom
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#2
Nice. enjoyed the contrasts from the wonder and beauty of nature to the mindless vandolism of the same.
The crutches in the first haiku /summation threw me a bit because i did not pick up anything to suggest this in the first stanza / paragraph. (I was completly taken with the image of a body of water freezing and had a platelets of ice / rising smoke picture in my mind). But perhaps crutches work because it was not expected from such a nature based preable.
On the fence about the use of personification of the junk. First thought it did not fit with the tone of the rest of the piece and that you could put a period after junk and finish there - still thinking on this aspect.
Adore the last haiku

Overall this works for me - Haibum are meant to take you on a journey / be pithy obversational notes - I though this was a good example of this. I had a flavour of a canal side view that I had not considered before.
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#3
Hi AJ, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this, it's good to see you on the site again. 

I hear what you're saying about certain aspects of the piece. It was originally just a prose piece, so exactly as it is now but without the haiku, but I've also had it in my mind for a while that it had some potential to be a haibun. I've also had the image of the first haiku for a while, probably before I wrote the prose piece. The crutches on the frozen canal were something I actually saw this winter just past, one morning on my way to work and it is indeed a bizarre image but it was real. I can however understand how it would come as a surprise in this piece and I suppose the fact that I saw it enabled me to take the 'bizarre junk' aspect of the piece to a ridiculous extreme. 

Of the very little that I know about 'haibun', the one thing I do remember reading was to use the haiku to take the piece in a different direction or to resolve it in an unexpected way and I have found that hard to do in the past because the obvious temptation, without even realising, is to have a haiku that is a commentary on the prose and basically says the same thing but in a slightly more poetic way. So I made extra effort here not to do the same, but I understand that perhaps I went to far.

I also think that you are right about the personification of junk at the end, it seemed to work fine when it was just prose but the haibun conversion has made it seem less appropriate and I will think of a way to either make it work as personification or to change it into something different.

I'm pleased you like the last haiku, I was worried that it was perhaps too much of a gimmick to use here so I feel better about it now.

Thanks for all your comments, they've been very helpful to me,

Mark
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#4
Hi Mark,

Here are some comments on your piece:

(05-27-2015, 01:04 PM)ambrosial revelation Wrote:  In winter when the temperature drops low enough, the canal begins to form its first delicate veil of wafer thin ice.  Pockets of air cling to the underside [i] and bid farewell to the light that slowly fades as ice grows thicker and swirling feathered patterns deliciously arc and sweep across the whole of its surface. [loved the arcing and sweeping and the feathered word choice. I wonder if you could cut patterns and still make it work--staying a little closer to the imagery without having my mind superimpose the abstract patterns. Maybe something a bit specific in the look or pull feathered out and make it like wings...just thinking out loud her] Sometimes it can happen over night and as a bonus the ice is topped off with a fine layer of frost that scintillates brightly[i] in the low early[don't know if early is necessary since low and morning already convey the idea] morning sun; a complete transformation seemingly at odds with the rest of nature in a deep slumber.[don't know if you need the "a"] --liked the prose part quite a bit.

[i]atop

frozen canal -
crutches--definitely surprising. It makes you think someone fell in and their crutches are frozen above them.

Then the inevitable begins to happen.[begins to happen could simply be reduced to happens] At first the occasional stone, some small pebbles, the results of inquisitive minds testing how thick the ice is.[this could be condensed to "At first the occasional stone, some small inquisitive pebbles testing how thick the ice is" Small pebbles become large pebbles become small rocks become large rocks.[like this progression quite a bit] Until, the floodgates open and to every passer by the temptation to throw something onto the frozen canal becomes irresistible. Twigs snapped from branches, branches snapped from trees, trees uprooted, strewn across the icy surface. Green plastic bottles, multi coloured plastic bags, fluorescent shoes, shopping trolleys, school uniforms, toasters, lingerie, a fondue set, his and hers matching dressing gowns, a cuddly toy. Every conceivable piece of bizarre junk that you can possibly imagine congregates on the frozen wastes until the hideous transformation is complete and the gift of a beautiful frozen canal becomes an eyesore.[fully enjoyed rink becoming landfill to see who could break the ice]

on the canal
skating -
funeral mourners

Silently everyone suffers, trying to convince themselves that they were not the worst offenders. Silently everyone prays for the thaw to come and sink the mayhem to the bottom where it can mingle with all the previous decades worth of junk and swap stories of what it was like, "Up there!! Up there in that beautiful golden light."[wonderful final statements. The halo effect. Love it]

daffodils don't see
the carnage when snow drops
and crocuses bloom--ends well.
I know we don't usually comment much in Miscellaneous like this, but I wanted to. I enjoyed it.

Best,

Todd[/i][/i][/i]
The secret of poetry is cruelty.--Jon Anderson
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#5
Hi Todd,

Thanks for the comments, I like your thoughts regarding the first bit of prose and the passage about patterns, I will definitely think about it and see what I can come up with. I agree with all your other suggestions slight alterations in certain places, you remind me that I need to look for redundant words and phrases just as much in prose as I usually do in poetry. I think I fall into the trap sometimes of thinking that because it is prose that it doesn't need as much of the fine attention to detail as poetry does.

I have been quite pleased with this piece myself, more so due to the fact that it is a bit different to what I would usually write, so it's nice to see other peoples positive comments and thoughts on it. I don't mind at all that you've commented on this even though it's in miscellaneous, to be honest I didn't think that it belonged in any of the other forums so it was the only place I could really put it, but at the same time I was perhaps hoping for some feedback so this is much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Mark
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